When you start a new skin care routine or you incorporate new products into your current regimen, you may experience breakouts or skin flaking. This process is sometimes called purging. This is a normal, short-term condition where the skin will rid itself of underlying oil, bacteria, or dirt, according to Dr.
It takes between 2-8 weeks for the skin to become acclimated to new skincare products, and only then can you start to see results. Initially you may notice a negative effect on your skin, such as dryness, redness and spots. This is part of the skin's natural purging process, and is completely normal.
Skin purging is a process that happens when certain skincare ingredients increase skin cell turnover. This encourages shedding of old, dead cells and growth of new, healthy ones. Unfortunately, this process often makes the skin look worse before it looks better.
How long does it take for skin to purge? Unfortunately, purging can be a lengthy process and it can take up to three or so months before results start to show, especially if the treatment is an acne medicated treatment.
Skin purging occurs because newly introduced skincare ingredients increase the rate at which your skin cells turnover, causing you to shed more dead skin cells than usual. This, in turn, pushes layers of dead skin off and also brings clogged pores to the surface, Chang says, resulting in more breakouts.
Skin purging typically looks like tiny red bumps on the skin that are painful to touch. They are often accompanied by whiteheads or blackheads. It can also cause your skin to become flaky. The flare ups caused by purging have a shorter lifespan than a breakout.
Generally speaking, dermatologists say purging should be over within four to six weeks of starting a new skin care regimen. If your purge lasts longer than six weeks, consult your dermatologist. It could be that you need to adjust the dosage and/or frequency of application.
"Ideally the skin is smooth, supple, and uniform in color," Waldorf said. If your skin feels less bumpy, the size of your pores has been reduced, and you're noticing less marks, acne, and discoloration, your products are likely working.
Purging is a sign that the product is working and you should continue with the treatment as prescribed. After a few weeks of purging, your skin and acne will have noticeably improved. Breaking out is when your skin is reacting because it is sensitive to something in the new product.
Any reactions will likely occur within a day, but could take up to two or three, so we recommend waiting a few days before full-face application. You'll want to look out for anything uncomfortable or weird like redness, bumps, or itchiness.
Be consistent with using the product
No skincare product is magic, so results are never overnight, according to dermatologist Dr. Melanie Palm. "It usually takes 3 to 4 months to evaluate whether a skin-care change is working to improve the overall appearance of the skin," Palm told Well and Good.
Your skin might burn, sting, itch, or get red right where you used the product. You might get blisters and have oozing, especially if you scratch. The other kind of reaction actually involves your immune system. It's called allergic contact dermatitis and symptoms can include redness, swelling, itching, and hives.
“Purging is neither good nor bad. It can happen after using excellent products but, equally, it also frequently occurs when the skin barrier is compromised prior to starting with a product or treatment.
Most niacinamide products also contain a variety of other ingredients. If any of these ingredients increase skin cell turnover then they may be behind any 'purging'. Some ingredients can also be 'comedogenic' which means that they are more likely to clog pores and cause breakouts.
“Purging” is another term for breakouts, though there are some differences. Though some people do report experiencing irritation and breakouts after using the ingredient, niacinamide is unlikely to cause purging. That's because it doesn't affect the skin in a way that usually triggers purging.
Salicylic acid also improves the shape of the pore lining, and once the pore is normalized, the backed-up, smaller clog can more easily come to the surface, appearing as new clogged pores (blackheads or white bumps).
Retinoids such as Tretinoin, acids such as salicylic, and benzoyl peroxide are just a few of the products that cause purging. These products contain active ingredients that increase the skin cell turnover rate, therefore causing your skin to purge.
If you want to prevent skin purging or limit a purge's severity, make sure you introduce your new acne treatment products slowly into your routine. This is true of other skincare products for most skin conditions! Slow and steady usually wins the race.
Many have questioned whether skin purging is real. It may seem contradictory that continuing to use a product through breakouts and holding on through some serious bad skin days can result in your complexion eventually clearing. But purging is absolutely real—especially if you have acne-prone skin to begin with.
Purging should then last the length of time for a full cycle. While that is different for everyone, it should on average last between 4 to 6 weeks. However, if your skin isn't getting better after 6 to 8 weeks, your skin may be having an adverse reaction to the new product(s).
Allergic reactions can range in severity, but may include hives, itchy skin, a rash, flaking or peeling skin, facial swelling, irritation of the eyes, nose and mouth, wheezing, and anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.
Try New Products On Alternate Days
They all have a peeling action, which can cause irritations and redness if used too often. Your skin needs time to get used to them, so only use them on alternate days at first. You can always increase frequency later on.